NOTE: this blog was originally posted in 2009. If you have questions about tax breaks for teachers for 2010 please use our Ask A Tax Question form and we will be able to answer your questions as quickly as possible. Thank you for stopping by FiscalTax.com!
Almost all of us have at one time or another been required to buy something for the job that is not paid for by our employers. This can range from uniforms to educational materials to business cards and more. If you have expenses that are related directly to your job and are not paid for by your employer, you may be able to deduct those as an expense on your federal taxes.
The first thing you must understand about deducting non-reimbursed job expenses on your federal taxes is that to do this you absolutely must itemize your deductions. For many people, itemizing deductions without the assistance of an accountant can be particularly daunting.
Often it is hard to know what expenses may be deducted and what expenses cannot be deducted. For the purposes of job-related expenses, the key is proving that the expense was made only for your job. If, for example, you use your vehicle as part of your job and do not have those auto expenses reimbursed by your employer, that does not mean you can deduct the entire cost of the car or its maintenance or gasoline as a work-related expense. However, you may deduct either of the mileage used for work-related trips multiplied by the standard federal deduction per mile or you may deduct a portion of the maintenance costs and fuel costs of your vehicle. If you choose to deduct a portion of his the maintenance costs of your vehicle, the first thing you will be asked to do is to determine how much of the vehicles usage is work-related. Remember that trips to and from work do not count as work related.
Some people also mistakenly believe that adding advertising to their vehicle means it is 100% deductible. This is not true. Offer a realistic estimate of how often you use the vehicle for work and back can be deducted from your federal income taxes. Uniforms or clothing specifically bought as required by an employer may also be deductible.
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